Articles on: Templates

Setup Product Demos

Setting up a plugin/theme sandbox demo can be really painful. Lot of folks try with WP multi-site or struggle setting up demos using in-house bash scripts, resulting in a frustrated experience for both - you and your users. Not to mention, you miss out on important usage insights too.

Well, InstaWP has solved this problem. Our WordPress product authors like GravityForms and WP Job Manager are already using our solution for demonstrating their products. And there are hundreds of more such examples.

Read this tutorial to figure out how to setup a product demo with InstaWP on your own.

How to Setup a Product Demo using InstaWP?

Note: If you are not using InstaWP, sign up with our WordPress sandbox tool using this link.

Step 1 - Create a New Site

Once you are logged in to the InstaWP dashboard, go to the Sites page and click Add New.

Now, you will see a modal/popup on your screen.

To deliver good product demonstration experience, make sure to change Server Location as per your target audience's geography. Keep it closest to them.

You can add a site label to identify it with ease, and make other changes, as required.

Hit Create Site when you are ready, and InstaWP will auto-install it for you.

Use the Magic Login link to open this site's admin panel.

If everything went well, you will see your WordPress site's admin dashboard already.

Step 2 - Setting up the Product Demo

You have your demo site installed. Now, you need to prepare it for your prospects, so think accordingly.

A few things you can do at this stage are:

Install your plugin/theme and its dependencies (e.g., adding essential plugins and modifying essential settings).
Install a theme on your site and set up a landing page for your demo users.
Add some demo content, may be create a sample page.
Add a message on Dashboard on how to use your demo. (You can use a plugin like this or this OR custom code inside the theme files).
Update the fields on Settings > General page.

All done? Great. Let's move to the next step.

Step 3 - Save your Site as a Shared Template

A template is a snapshot of an active InstaWP website. It is possible to re-use this template and create more identical sites from it. You need to create a Shared Template for product demos, because you would like to make it public.

When you mark a template as "Shared" template, it is possible for you to share it with a link to anyone around the internet, for them to create an copy of your saved site.

The link will look something like this:

You can share this link to your potential customers, effectively creating a product sandbox / demo for your plugin, theme or SaaS business.

Click Save as Template icon, adjacent to your site.

Add a name to your template, provide some description, and mark your template as Shared without fail.

Remember, these details will be visible to your users (and search engines) when they land on the demo page. So, keep them precise, crisp, and engaging.

Make sure that your template has a unique name.

You can also mark this template as Instant Template to improve its load speed.

An Instant Template is added to InstaWP's warm-up pool to load it superfast for your users. However, it will work as a regular shared template before it's actually becomes a part of our pool.

Save this template.

To copy the link to this template, go to the Templates page > Shared tab and click on "Shared" (written next to your template's name).

This link can be used on your landing pages, in your emails, and everywhere throughout your product promotion campaign.

Step 4 - Customize Template

You can customize the look and feel of your template landing page. For this, go to the Templates > Shared, scroll down to your template, and click on the Edit button.

Now, you will find various options to help you control and customize your product demos more efficiently.


Modify the name, description, and other essential settings from here.


This section will let you customize your product demo to suit your brand needs. Logo, email template, privacy policy, custom CSS, and brand colors can be selected here.


Email that will be sent to your demo users

Privacy Policy

Custom CSS

Custom Colors (Primary and Accent)

Want to add one or more images related to your product on your product demo landing page? Do it here.


Advanced Options

Full explanation of these template options can be found here. However, here are few notable ones:

Site Lifetime - Demo sites will be auto deleted after this.
Collect Email - Switch this off, if you want people to just try your product without an email address.
Auto Login - Automatically login to wp-admin panel, instead of showing credentials to users.
Email Provider - Use your preferred email provider (integrated with your InstaWP account) to send emails so that you can track your campaigns better.

You can also specify your demo users site cloning and file modification rights.

Alright! at this point your “Product Demo” is all set and you can pass the template link to your users and post it on your website.

The template landing page should look something like this:

And when the user will click on the Launch Demo button, the next screen will be:

Upon clicking Proceed, your prospect will be able to find demo account details and use the Magic Logic link to directly enter the product demo. (If the auto-login is enabled, user will directly see the WordPress admin dashboard.

Next, if you have set a redirect URL (linking to a page in dashboard/frontend), your prospect will reach that page. Otherwise, the WordPress admin panel of this demo setup will open up.

Did we miss anything in this WordPress product demo creation tutorial? Use the live chat option to ask us right now.


How can I get the emails of users via the shared template?

You can download a CSV OR connect to a CRM software using Webhooks. This is available only for paid members.

What are Advance Options?

Advance options allow you to customize the look and feel of the template landing page. This is available in the Professional plan and above.

What is an Instant Template?

You may notice that the demo instances are taking 2-4 seconds to create, Instant Template changes that. New instances will be launched, well, instantly!

Is there a limit of how many sites can be created by shared templates? And does this limit eat up my “Active Sites” limit?

We have separate limit for this, which is called “Template Sites.” If you click on the top of your account. You will find a separate line item in the Pricing Plans for this (when you scroll down). So, this doesn’t eat up your “Active Sites” limit.

What if I make changes to the site, can I sync changes to the template?

Yes, you can sync your changes. We have made a simple "sync" icon under each template, you can also choose to auto sync changes based on a schedule (available in paid plans).

Create Site
Create Shared Template

Updated on: 20/09/2023

Was this article helpful?

Share your feedback


Thank you!